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Keep fish on menu - and live longer

Humans evolved near the coast, with a steady diet of fish. Turns out there's a good reason to keep that trend going.

Since the emergence of homo sapiens, people have settled in coastal regions for a variety of reasons, ready food sources chief among them. Over time the human body evolved on a diet rich in fish. Which possibly explains why, according new research, that our bodies do so well when fish is plentiful on our plates.

A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that eating some fish helps us live longer. Early humans may not have known this - they didn't live very long back then - but something in their make-up told them things with fins made good grub.

Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found that people whose blood contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel, lived an average of 2.2 years longer than those with low levels. This finding is a reason enough to eat more fish.

Of course, there is a downside. As The National noted in this space yesterday, it is possible to love fish to death. Over-fishing is a serious threat to some stocks. But if our coastal-dwelling forefathers managed it for so long, our highly evolved species should be able to have our fish and save it too. Indeed, there is a good chance we can't live without it.

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